I am shy. Not the cute kind, either. I am the girl who gets in a room with someone she’s been waiting to get in the room with but can’t speak because her chest starts tightening and her mouth gets dry. I literally ran into one of my favorite Youtubers the other day at the Bad Boy Family Reunion concert and couldn’t even speak. I mean like, she was standing 3 inches away from me and I just let her walk past. I have been this way for as long as I can remember, but when I grew up we weren’t as fake concerned with being politically correct as we are now so terms like “social anxiety” didn’t exist in my world.
I’ve had a million people tell me after getting to know me that they initially thought I wasn’t nice or that I didn’t like them. They thought I was “stuck up” because I didn’t talk to them. When I was younger, these comments bothered me, but y’all know I don’t care what you think now unless you’re putting a roof over my head or some coins in my bank account. I digress. I had to find a way to conquer my shyness because I had already missed out on too much. So how do I do it?
One day I realized that my anxiety was doing nothing but holding me back. I started thinking about all those tear-jerker click bait articles on Facebook about the last words of the dying that I’ve read and how they all wished they would have had the balls to do the things they actually wanted to do. I decided that I didn’t want to have that same story, but that I would take every day- the good ones and the ones that send me on a desperate search for a reset button- and milk them dry. I want to squeeze all the goodness I possibly can from the numbered days I have on this planet. We always say life is short, but it’s actually the longest thing we’ll ever do. I figured, I better stop acting like a field mouse hiding in the grass and make like the leopard I am on the inside!
I read a quote somewhere that says the longest relationship you will have is the one you have with yourself so, if you don’t want to get bored you’d better work on making yourself interesting. That resonated with me. Like a yodel on a mountainside.
People don’t realize how much it pains me to talk to strangers, or worse, distant acquaintances. People don’t realize that I have created an entire cheerleading squad in my head just to be able to walk up to them. Yesterday at work I had an email issue and submitted an e-ticket to get it fixed. They usually fix these issues via screen sharing. Where it’s safe for someone with social anxiety. But this IT guy gave me their station number and wanted me to walk to get it worked on face to face. Do you realize that I sat at my computer for an hour trying to muster up the chutzpah to walk over there? I finally took a deep breath, and whispered “milk it” to myself before I jumped out of my chair and made it over to IT. It took 2 minutes to fix. Two. All that mental prep for two minutes. But I was glad that I did it. I am always glad that I do it. Because it’s not about how long it takes. It’s about me getting out of my own way.
You better believe I swagged back to my desk with my chest out feeling like a boss. It ain’t easy. This stuff comes naturally to some. I am not in that boat. I’m working on it, though. Ya know, milkin’ it.